Labor Day hangover

It's not related to overindulgence in powerful potables, but I do have an observation hanging over from Labor Day. On Monday, I repeatedly heard and read about how U.S. workers are the most productive in the world -- generating about $64,000 apiece in goods and services, some 15% ahead of anyone else including Europe's best, according to an International Labor Organization report issued that day. Working more hours explains part of the higher output, but not all of it. The reports I heard credited the rest to American's "tendency to embrace new technology" and its potential for increasing productivity. "Hmmm," I thought, "Here in the United States, where manufacturing is 'declining' and every mother wants their son to be a doctor, lawyer or Wal-Mart executive, those advances in medical, information and logistics technology must really be boosting productivity in the professional services and retail segments!" But no, they say once again, it's the manufacturing segment leading U.S. productivity. So give youself a hand - you deserve it. Then, please, get back to work.